Confronted with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the world is now facing the greatest health, economic and social challenge in the recent times. For communities living in indigenous peoples and community-conserved territories and areas (ICCAs), COVID-19 poses grave health threats since they already experience lack of access to healthcare, essential services, sanitation, and other key preventive measures, and have significantly higher rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Moreover, indigenous peoples’ traditional lifestyles are a source of their resiliency, yet, they entail large gatherings that render threats at this time in preventing the spread of virus. To this end, indigenous peoples and local communities have closed their borders and enforced restrictions on mobility and group gatherings within their territories to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, these have negatively impacted food supply and their livelihoods as well as creating awareness gaps on the novel pandemic amongst indigenous communities, and thereby, exacerbating food insecurity and chronic poverty already faced by many.
Phase 2 of the Global Support Initiative to territories and areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and local communities (ICCA-GSI) was launched in October 2020 with additional funding of USD 17.2m from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the BMU’s IKI Corona Response Package
The objective of the ICCA-GSI Phase 2 is to support indigenous peoples and local communities to cope with and recover from the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also contribute to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the Convention of Biological Diversity
(CBD) which is planned to be finalized in 2021, as well as to the UNDP strategic framework for the period 2012-2020, entitled “The Future We Want: Biodiversity and Ecosystems—Driving Sustainable Development”.
The ICCA-GSI Phase 2 is implemented in 45 countries including Afghanistan, Argentina, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, China, Colombia, DR Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Micronesia (Federal States), Mongolia, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Viet Nam and Zambia.
The projects in the participating countries will fall under the following thematic categories:
i. Food production systems (agroecology and agroforestry)
ii. Local bio circular economy
iii. Prevention of zoonoses and future pandemics
iv. Sustainable and well-governed wildlife consumption
v. Territorial mapping and demarcation
vi. Transmission of traditional medical knowledge
vii. Communication and lessons sharing through culturally appropriate means and
viii. Deployment of traditional knowledge of fire management
In mid-December 2021, training was provided to the 45 participating countries to jumpstart the project cycle. The call for proposals for the ICCA-GSI Phase projects was advertised from December 2020 through May 2021.
As of August 2021, a total of 244 projects are under implementation. Additionally, approximately 100 projects will be implemented in the 4th quarter of 2021.
In alignment with the overall objective of the ICCA-GSI Phase 1, support in recognizing and building upon the vital role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in conserving biodiversity extends to this phase. In 2021, ICCA-GSI and its partners launched three global reports to provide unequivocal and compelling evidence that global biodiversity goals would be unattainable without the full inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. These reports are available in different languages. For more information, please see Global biodiversity goals cannot be achieved without Indigenous Peoples and local communities, according to three new reports (undp.org)
ICCA-GSI is a multi-partnership initiative that is delivered by the UNDP-implemented Small Grants Programme (SGP) and funded by the Government of Germany, through its Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). Key partners include the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP WCMC), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Global Programme on Protected Areas (IUCN GPAP), the ICCA Consortium and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).